Unfortunately, the number of fatalities from bicycle accidents in Florida is higher than in any other state. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), 5,958 people were injured in bicycle accidents in Florida, while 197 people died in these crashes in 2021.
Bicycle accidents are particularly serious as they can cause catastrophic physical injuries. If you or your loved one has been involved in an Orlando bicycle accident, an experienced Orlando personal injury lawyer can help you pursue the damages you are owed.
Possible Causes of Orlando Bicycle Accidents
It is important to understand that in some cases, the cause of the accident may not be directly linked to one reason. Multiple factors may contribute to the accident. Your Orlando bicycle accident lawyer will work to establish how your accident occurred and who the liable party may be. Some of the most common contributing factors in a bicycle wreck include:
Reckless Behavior on the Road
Distracted driving is one example of irresponsible behavior. It may be due to actions such as using your phone in the car, talking to someone in the car or on the phone, and using the dashboard system to change music or access maps while driving. Other reckless behaviors include speeding, tailgating, and disobeying traffic signs and rules.
Driving Under the Influence
Drugs and alcohol impair a driver’s cognitive and physical abilities. Intoxicated driving leads to slow reaction times, poor coordination, and impaired judgment. These drivers are more likely to make aggressive and reckless decisions.
A faulty or broken component can cause life-threatening accidents on the road. The bicycle manufacturer may be held liable if improper manufacturing techniques cause the defect. If the fault was due to an error by the repair team, they could be held responsible. Product defects are more challenging to determine and require an expert to examine your bicycle.
Other leading factors of bicycle accidents include tourists who are unfamiliar with Orlando roads and a densely packed population.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident in Orlando
It is normal to be disoriented and scared following an accident. However, you can do the following to ensure your safety and protect your claim:
- As soon as it is safe, move out of the danger zone. This is especially crucial at night due to low visibility. You can then safely call law enforcement. If someone is seriously hurt, dial 911.
- Get the other motorist’s contact information and their insurance details. If there are any witnesses to the accident, ask if they are willing to share their contact information with you.
- Take pictures and videos of the accident scene. This can prove vital for your case.
- When the police arrive, cooperate with them. Do not say anything that may be construed as an admission of fault, such as apologizing, talking about the accident on social media, or even talking to the insurance company. Let your attorney handle all communications.
Even if you feel you did not sustain significant injuries, seek medical help as soon as possible. Some injuries may worsen with time and some are not easily detectable by the naked eye.
Common Injuries Sustained in Orlando Bicycle Accidents
Bicycles offer little protection in an accident, as they lack the exterior frame that other vehicles have. When a bicycle crashes with other auto vehicles such as trucks, cars, or motorbikes, they tend to suffer more severe injuries than other motorists. Common injuries cyclists suffer include the following:
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Head trauma
- Bone fractures
Injuries suffered in a bicycle accident may require extended periods of treatment, and as such, victims may be compensated for their damages.
Pursuing Compensation in a Bicycle Accident Case
Filing a personal injury lawsuit allows accident victims to hold the at-fault driver responsible for their actions and also allows the recovery of money spent or lost as a result of the accident. Florida is a no-fault state. This means that all motorists must carry a $10,000 minimum in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance per person per accident to cover their injuries and injury-related losses, such as lost wages. This means that your personal injury claim will be filed against the insurance company, not the at-fault party.
Bicycle victims may qualify for amounts under PIP insurance that cover:
- 80 percent of all actual and reasonable medical costs for treatment and transportation up to a limit of $10,000, provided that treatment is within 14 days of the accident.
- 60 percent of lost wages up to a limit of $10,000 if you were unable to work due to injuries sustained in the bicycle accident.
If you do not have PIP coverage, you may be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer. This method also allows you to seek damages unavailable under PIP, such as pain and suffering. In this situation, however, you are required to prove that the at-fault driver was negligent. Depending on the specific facts of your accident, your Orlando bicycle accident lawyer will advise you on all legal avenues available.
Statute of Limitations for an Orlando Bicycle Accident Claim
Florida limits the time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. Bicycle accidents and other personal injury victims have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit.
Claims that involve minors or government entities are exceptional cases that follow different rules. To avoid losing substantial evidence and fuzzy memory, speak to an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
Speak to an Experienced Orlando Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
Hiring a bicycle accident lawyer allows you to focus on healing while your lawyer handles all aspects of your case. We will handle all insurance paperwork, ensure that your medical documents are properly arranged, and negotiate your medical expenses to maximize the compensation you receive.
At Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis, we ensure our clients receive personalized and professional service. If you have been injured in Orlando or anywhere in Florida, contact our experienced bicycle injury lawyers by calling (407) 565-8604 or filling out our contact form. Your initial consultation is free, and we will not charge you any legal fees unless we win your case.